Decades ago physicians were taught that syphilis was a New World disease. The Europeans brought smallpox, and Amerindians returned syphilis. This was not a comparable exchange, smallpox and its kin killed most of the Amerindians (and another disease killed New World dogs). Syphilis, even at its worst, was not quite so deadly.
By the 1980s though, when I studied medicine, we were taught that syphilis was probably an Old World disease.
Now the pendulum has swung again ... The French Disease, the Italian Disease, the Christian Disease–the New World Disease?. Seems like it may be a New World disease after all.
- Conflagration -- the european invasion of the americas 11/2004
- History of the First Peoples - Charles Mann's 1491 11/2007
- Distemper and the death of the american dog 9/2005
- Rat plagues wipe out indigenous rats 10/2007
- Squanto and the non-Puritan non-Pilgrim "Fathers" 9/2007
- Did canine distemper arise from measles in the new world? 12/2011